UFC on Fox 12 Results: Matches to Make for the Entire Fight Card
It took five rounds of brawling with Matt Brown, but Robbie Lawler eventually emerged as the top contender in the welterweight division on Saturday in San Jose, California, at UFC on Fox 12.
Earning a unanimous nod on the scorecards, Lawler has earned the first shot at dethroning newly crowned 170-pound champion Johny Hendricks.
Hendricks won the welterweight belt in March with a decision victory over the UFC on Fox 12 main event winner, but Lawler has beaten Brown and Jake Ellenberger since then to strengthen his position as the top contender in the weight class.
Brown came into the weekend with seven straight wins. While his streak came to an end against Lawler, The Immortal proved he belongs in the Octagon with elite welterweights by staying very competitive in his first bout with a current Top Five UFC welterweight adversary.
With another UFC event in the books, here are the matchups that should be next for Lawler, Brown and the rest of the UFC on Fox 12 competitors.
Preliminary Card Fighters
Preliminary Card Winners
|Jorge Masvidal||Edson Barboza|
|Patrick Cummins||Ilir Latifi|
|Tim Means||William Macario|
|Brian Ortega||Godofredo Pepey|
|Tiago Trator||Frank Trevino|
|Gilbert Burns||Kenny Robertson|
|Joanna Jedrzejczyk||Claudia Gadelha|
|Noad Lahat||Tom Niinimaki vs. Chas Skelly Winner|
Preliminary Card Losers
|Daron Cruickshank||Abel Trujillo vs. Ross Pearson Loser|
|Kyle Kingsbury||None (Retire)|
|Hernani Perpetuo||None (Release)|
|Mike de la Torre||None (Release)|
|Akbarh Arreola||Naoyuki Kotani|
|Andreas Stahl||Rodrigo de Lima|
|Juliana Lima||Tina Lahdemaki|
|Steven Siler||None (Release)|
Matchup: Diego Sanchez
Josh Thomson is among the best in the lightweight division, but his stock is beginning to fall with two straight split-decision losses. Following a narrow loss to Benson Henderson in January, Thomson considered retiring.
Last time Josh Thomson lost a split decision (to Benson Henderson) he was ready to join the FOX broadcast team. Here we are again.
— Chuck Mindenhall (@ChuckMindenhall) July 27, 2014
Now, Thomson's in an even worse position, as he was defeated by Bobby Green in a close call on the scorecards (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). While Green is rising quickly in the lightweight division, he isn't a former champion like Henderson was.
This wasn't a performance that will cause people to question whether Thomson has anything left in the tank. Fighting like he has been, Thomson could be a 155-pound contender for several more years.
However, the question becomes: Does Thomson want to keep fighting, as a UFC championship appears to be slowly slipping out of reach?
If The Punk does decide to continue competing, there's one very winnable matchup that could get people talking about him again. A bout with Diego Sanchez would probably be highly entertaining and should give Thomson a good chance to rebound against a noteworthy adversary.
Matchup: Michael Johnson
Green's road has been rough recently, but he fought through it inside and outside the Octagon.
Only a couple months ago, Green's brother was murdered in a shooting. However, that did not stop him from taking a bout with Thomson on short notice and winning.
— UFCONFOX (@UFCONFOX) July 27, 2014
It wasn't a dominant showing, but Green looked very good against an opponent ranked No. 3 among lightweight contenders heading into the weekend. Sitting at No. 13 before Saturday, Green could now own a spot in the Top 10 when the rankings are updated.
Michael Johnson was originally scheduled to meet Thomson this weekend. In beating The Punk, Green could steal his opponent's original matchup. A bout between Green and Johnson, both outspoken, confident lightweights, could provide some entertaining trash-talking.
Matchup: Jeremy Stephens
The move to 145 pounds has not been as beneficial as Clay Guida would have hoped.
Following a win over Tatsuya Kawajiri, Guida met Dennis Bermudez in a bout that gave him an opportunity to solidify his position in the Top 10. Instead, Guida was roughed up and submitted in the second round. With a 2-2 record in the featherweight division, Guida may even lose his Top 10 position now.
Clay Guida always such a mess between rounds....hair, belches, blood, mice under his eyes...just a wreck.
— Chuck Mindenhall (@ChuckMindenhall) July 27, 2014
While he's having trouble gathering momentum in his new weight class, Guida is still capable of stepping into the Octagon with the best in the world. This is a step backward for The Carpenter, but it's hardly time to start talking about him hanging the gloves up.
Jeremy Stephens, another former lightweight, also hit a speed bump in his most recent featherweight outing. A matchup between Stephens and Guida would ensure one big name remains relevant in the 145-pound title equation.
Matchup: Ricardo Lamas
With a submission win over Guida at UFC on Fox 12, Bermudez has likely earned a spot in the featherweight Top 10. Since December 2009, only Bermudez and No. 1 contender Chad Mendes have been able to finish Guida.
In case you missed it: Dennis Bermudez vs. Clay Guida video highlights http://t.co/jsLVVL00CI— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) July 27, 2014
It isn't only this win that has Bermudez surging. The Menace has now won seven in a row. In most cases, Bermudez would be deserving of a shot at the belt with a winning streak like this. However, champion Jose Aldo's injury problems have created a log jam at the top of the 145-pound class.
Bermudez will need to keep winning to remain in line for a chance to compete for the championship. There is still room to take a step up in competition, though.
A bout with Ricardo Lamas, a former title challenger, would be a good test for Bermudez while he waits for his opportunity.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Matchup: Alan Belcher
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira entered UFC on Fox 12 with back-to-back wins, but those victories came so long ago that they seem to have been forgotten.
On Saturday, Nogueira was brutally stopped by Anthony Johnson. The knockout loss had some with short memories suggesting Nogueira should think about retiring:
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira should retire? 2-1 in his last 3 with a win over Rashad Evans. Yeah. Good call. LOL.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) July 27, 2014
Just one bout removed from a win over Rashad Evans, the No. 3 light heavyweight contender, Nogueira isn't going to call it quits. He is 38 years old, but Minotoro still has some fight left in him and a respectable 4-3 UFC record.
Given Alan Belcher's statements to MMA Fighting in January that he was planning on taking a break from fighting, this matchup may not end up happening. However, The Talent was planning a return to 205 pounds, where he'd be an intriguing opponent for Nogueira.
Matchup: Alexander Gustafsson
Once released by the UFC due to weight-cutting problems at 170 pounds, Anthony Johnson is now running through the promotion's light heavyweight division.
At UFC on Fox 12, Rumble steamrolled Nogueira en route to an opening-round knockout win. Prior to Saturday, Nogueira hadn't been finished since a February 2007 bout under the Pride FC banner.
Despite previously competing in the welterweight division, Johnson's power is becoming a scary thing to most 205-pounders. Now with eight straight wins, Rumble is ready for a title-shot eliminator with an elite light heavyweight adversary.
Alexander Gustafsson earned a title shot with a March win over Jimi Manuwa, but many would have liked to see the Swedish fighter do more to earn his rematch with Jon Jones. Now that an injury has caused Gustafsson to be replaced by Daniel Cormier in the September bout with Jones, Johnson could be the fighter to give Gustafsson another test before a potential second meeting with Jones.
Yes, a matchup between Gustafsson and Johnson would risk one of the biggest bouts the UFC can book right now. However, it would also provide an opportunity to build up that rematch between Jones and Gustafsson even more than it already has been.
Matchup: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Tyron Woodley Loser
While Brown's unlikely run toward the top of the welterweight division hit a wall on Saturday, The Immortal proved he's more than simply an overachiever. Brown really is one of the best 170-pounders in the world.
Brown ultimately lost to Lawler on the scorecards, but he actually landed more strikes than his opponent and took home Fight of the Night honors for his efforts. Lawler is not easy to stand toe-to-toe with, but Brown did so and lived to tell the tale.
UFC on FOX 12 bonuses: Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown take home Fight of the Night http://t.co/SYtWcyXr2g— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) July 27, 2014
It's likely Brown will have to take a small step down in competition and pick up a win or two to get back where he was, but The Immortal remains a legitimate contender in the welterweight division.
When Brown returns to the Octagon, he could do so against the loser of an August bout between Dong Hyun Kim and Tyron Woodley. That could mean a rematch of a bout between Brown and Kim that ended in a split decision back in September 2008.
Matchup: Johny Hendricks
Lawler isn't quite done with Hendricks.
On Saturday, he defeated Brown in another excellent fight to re-establish himself as the top contender in the welterweight division. That means Lawler will soon have another meeting with Hendricks, who has been dealing with injuries since he captured the vacant 170-pound crown in March.
Robbie Lawler: "There were two champions in the cage tonight. He went toe-to-toe with me, not many do that." #UFConFOX12— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) July 27, 2014
While Hendricks has been rehabilitating, Lawler has beaten Brown and Jake Ellenberger. Since his first fight with Hendricks was so entertaining and closely contested, those victories were more than enough to earn Lawler a rematch.
Hendricks will likely go to his wrestling more often this time around, but another epic clash should be expected by MMA fans.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.